When it comes to booking airline tickets, you will always see people trying to make the most of it. Unfortunately, airlines are slowly taking away benefits to extend your award travel. There are still plenty of options, but they are options out there like Icelandair Stopover Program, that is simple to use and adds value to your trip.
Utilizing Icelandair Stopover Program
Why Consider Icelandair?
The cost to fly across the Atlantic is dropping. That means transferring your points to an airline (for coach) is become less favorable.
Couple that with airline award programs reducing benefits on award travel. Finding ways to extend your travel, via award charts, is not only becoming more work, it is also becoming less rewarding.
Some airlines receive a little more love than others in the blog world. That doesn’t mean certain airlines aren’t worth your time. After booking a flight with Icelandair, I think are undervalued for the locations they fly too and ticket prices. They might not have a luxurious 1st class suite, but they do offer out sized value for the price.
Icelandair has some nice benefits:
- Free checked bag for coach tickets
- Optional Wifi (there are cards that will pay for your WiFi)
- Their seats have 32 inches of pitch
- Competitive ticket prices
- Stopover Program
The feature that could really make your trip more valuable would be Icelandair Stopover Program. It is also very easy to use this benefit.
Icelandair flies to 37 destinations in Europe. Although it might not be as many as other airlines, it still is a large number of destinations to visit.
These European destinations include:
Icelandair Stopover Program
Stopovers and open jaws are great ways to extend your travel. If you haven’t looked into these, I really would recommend you do.
Like most of you, I like to make the most of my trips (if my time allows it). Some programs have some pretty awesome ways to extend your trip for zero to very little extra. This could be booking with points or paying for a flight.
Icelandair allows you to book up to a 7 day stopover in Reykjavik at no cost/very little cost. That is a great amount of time to see Iceland and what it has to offer.
The stop over can be on your first stop or on your way home. Either way you can book a stop over for up to 7 days.
In addition to their stop over program, Icelandair has a “Buddy Service.”
Icelandair Buddy Service:
If you have a stop over, you can request a “buddy” to show you around Iceland, for up to 1 day.
This is a nice feature to Icelandair in addition to their generous stop over program. Again, at no additional cost! This is having your own personal tour guide/expert for the day, that is pretty valuable in itself.
I think this is a great benefit if you have a day to explore Reykjavik. This is an Icelandair employee, so I’d assume they live in Iceland or Icelandair has some form of an itinerary for the employee to follow. If you have used this benefit, leave a comment if it was beneficial.
It might not be a benefit you’d use, but it is there if you were looking to take advantage of it.
Using Points on Icelandair
Fortunately, you can use your flexible points on Icelandair. While this may not seem like a great way to use your points, since redemption would be around 1.25 to 1.5 cents per point. I believe this could actually offer you more value than transferring to an airline.
Ticket prices aren’t outrageous and when you add in a stop over, your value would increase, even if the ticket price does not increase. I think this could actually be a good use for your points, people just have to stop thinking value is associated with a ticket price 🙂
These tickets are bookable online through the big flexible currencies: Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and Thank You Points.
We actually made our booking on Icelandair using our Merrill Lynch points for travel this November. Using those points, we were able to book 2 tickets, including a 3 day stop over in Reykjavik for 51,972 Merrill Lynch points. The price of the tickets were over $1,000.
Crediting your Icelandair Flights
If you are paying for your ticket, or using points through a travel portal, you might earn miles for your flight (depends on your class fare.) You will want to see where to credit your miles, based on your travel goals and a great site to use is wheretocredit.com.
When looking at Icelandair, you can credit to their rewards program, Saga Club. It takes a lot of quite a bit of points to earn a “free” flight, so I would look to credit to another airline.
You can credit Icelandair to three different airlines:
You can credit your miles to Alaskan Airlines, Finnair, or Jetblue. Where you credit is really up to you. I can see most people crediting to either; Alaskan airlines, or Jetblue.
The amount of miles you earn is based on the fare class you book.
Crediting to Jetblue
As with all airlines, the miles accrued is based on the cabin you are booked in.
My total flight mileage (round trip) for my upcoming trip to Iceland/Norway is 7,374 miles. After looking and not able to find my class fare for my flights, I reached out to Icelandair. My fare class is N and P, which means I’ll earn 0 points towards. While I am disappointed in earning 0 miles, it also cost me $0, so I’m not that upset.
Be sure to ask which fare class your ticket falls under, it will only help you if you are looking to earn miles for your flight.
Crediting to Alaskan Airlines
Crediting your miles to Alaskan Airlines could be better if you fly them, or utilize their partners.
Compared to Jetblue, you receive a better bonus when flying either Saga or Economy Comfort, that is something to keep in mind.
Interestingly, you will earn 25% of the base miles when flying fares U and N. Both of these classes receive 0 miles when crediting to Jetblue.
To earn more Alaskan Airline miles, you can open the Alaskan Airline credit card (personal and business) through Bank of America, or you can transfer over from SPG.
Since my fare classes are N and P, I will only earn miles for my outbound flight. I am better off crediting my flight to Alaskan Airlines because I will earn something for my flight.
Icelandair might not be an airline that comes to mind when you are thinking of traveling to Europe, but it should be. As airlines change/cut benefits it is important to see what airlines will give you outsized value.
Using Icelandair Stopover Program and even their Buddy Program can add some great value without increasing the cost of your ticket.
While their Saga Reward program isn’t anything to rave about, you can credit your miles to some good airlines, in Jetblue or Alaskan Airlines.